Saturday, May 12, 2018

Kim Frencken: I survived the end of the school year

End of the year. Last minute assignments to grade. Grades to post. Grade card comments to make. Inventory to take. Emails to answer. Room to organize and clean - Why? It won't stay that way for long, but it feels so good to walk into an organized room! Summer farewells to say. Summer plans to make.

I made it. I survived the end-of-the-year!

It always seems overwhelming. And it never fails that the computer that worked fine all year suddenly develops a mind of its' own. I always list too much to do in too short of a time. This year was no different. Except for one thing. This year, I was not looking forward to the end of the school year.

I landed on a soft spot this year. A dream for a teacher. Great administration. Super colleagues. Fun kids. A dream job. All year I haven't minded getting up, even though I am not a morning person. I've stayed late, even though I am not expected to stay. I've looked forward to my school day in ways that I hadn't in years. Why? Because, after four years of semi-retirement, a school who believed in educating kids by teachers that knew what they were doing asked me to come.

At first, I wondered what I had gotten myself into, but after the first day I was hooked. This was teaching. I wasn't expected to impress or pretend. I was expected, and allowed to, teach. That's it. Just love the kids and teach. The administration has our backs. They support us and respect what each of us brings to the table. In return, we are grateful. It is rare, in this day and age that a teacher be allowed to teach. That a teacher be treated with respect. That a teacher be treated as a professional.

Outside our little world, schools have been consolidated as a means of improvement, but they've lost the value of the small school system. Character and quality have been absorbed into a vacuum that often fails in so many areas. Talk has been traded for text. Email instead of conversation. And devices have replaced learning basic skills. I don't think that's an improvement at all.

I'm blessed to find a place where kids still learn cursive (yes, there is still a need for this lost art). A place where teachers talk to each other. A place where kids and learning are priority one, and teachers are viewed as the expert to see that this takes place. A place where the principal pitches in and moves furniture at the end of the year.

So, I survived the end-of-the-year. I'll miss this little country school for the months that we are off. I'll miss the friendly faces. My family. But I'll have something to look forward to... fall.

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog Chocolate For The Teacher.)

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